What is Author Rank?

We know that great content comes from great authors, and we’re looking closely at ways this markup could help us highlight authors and rank search results.
– Othar Hansson
(Google Authorship Project)

If you understand SEO, you should also know about Page Rank (a metric defined by Google to analyse and identify the value of a website or webpage using link graph). Similar to Page Rank, Google has introduced a new metric called Author Rank, which Google uses to identify the authority of a blogger or web author. (Ref Google Patent on Author Rank). Google will not replace page rank with author rank, but it will use both these metrics to improve relevancy of results and promote posts of author’s with greater influence.

Identifying Authors

These days, content are one of the most important tools for drawing attention and traffic to a website. The content is written by bloggers and they have wide working scenarios. They write for multiple websites and as such no longer can be associated to one particular blog or a site. Some bloggers even write about wide array of topics. Google feels that they need to identify and recognize these blogger as well as their authority on particular topics, so that they can capitalize on it and deliver better search results to the users.

There needs to be a better system for tuning down the stupid people and tuning up the smart people.
– Jason Calacanis (Serial Entrepreneur)

People are rigging the Google Search results by creating and publishing junk content. Although Google released several updates (Panda, Penguin) to their search engine algorithms, web spam is still prevalent. In Google’s vision, it sees the use of Author Rank as a possible solution to reduce web spam by identifying and prioritizing the content written by authors, who have higher authority and reader engagement.

Social Influence in Search Results

With the inception of social media, everything on the web is getting a personal touch. The search engine giants Google and Bing are using social media information to prioritize results which are preferred by your friends.
Suppose, if you want to try out a new Chinese restaurant, you will have more trust on your friend’s advice who already tried it, rather than a flashy advertisement by the restaurant itself. Search engines are trying to replicate the same human behavior while calculating the search results. The trend of personalized search results will continue as it brings in a hint of trust with it and reduces the clicks on spam content. You will definitely not hit the ‘Like’, ‘Tweet’, or ‘+1′ a spam content if you ever bump on one. This will save your friends from seeing the spam content if they search for the same query.
Engagement is yet another factor that can be used to decide if a webpage is really helpful to the visitor or not. When users like a webpage or comment on it, it can be concluded that the webpage has engaging content.

How Google Uses It? What Parameters Can Affect Author Rank?

Google released its own social networking platform (Plus) not only to compete with Facebook and Twitter, but to also bring a social touch to their search results. Google is trying to rope in as many as possible Search and Gmail users to Google Plus, it will help to identify bloggers and analyze their authority. Also, they are pushing people to click the +1 button for the webpages. They are basically using Google Plus to measure the interaction of people with the content.

After an blogger associates his author profile with his Google Plus profile, Google starts tracking and associating all their blogs. Each post can be tracked for quality and associate with a particular topic such as technology or sports. Then they track the social interaction on those blogs, so that they can identify if the content is actually helpful. They analyze the authority, trust and vertical/horizontal space which an author writes about.

Author profile in Google search results

They use Page Rank and Author Rank in conjunction to know the value of the website as well as the author to know the real value of the content and stack out spam. Page Rank and Author Rank affect each other. When an author writes for a website with good or bad Page Rank (trust value), their value (Author Rank) increases/decreases. When a good/bad author writes on a website, its Page Rank might get affected in the same way. They are in some way dependent on each other.

How to Configure Author Profile?

  1. Authors need to set up a Google Plus Profile and use the same email-id/profile with all the blogs.
  2. Blogger profile in publisher website
  3. Use the rel=author tag in the author profile pages and provide a link to your Google Plus profile. Use the link to your respective author profile page in each blog you write. If an author page is not available in the website, try to mention your GMail/Email-id that is associated with your Google Author Profile in all the blog posts you publish.
  4. Google Author Rank - Contributor To in Plus
  5. List the links to each author page in the “Contributor To” part of the Google Plus profile.
  6. Also, list all your social media IDs in your author page in each of the website you write for.
  7. To verify, if profile is set correctly, check Google’s rich snippet tool.
  8. Edit: We have created interactive guide using Whatfix, to provide step by step instructions inside Google plus to create author link.

    whatfix flow to link author page from Google plus profile.

In few days of setting up author profile, you should be able to see profile picture against search results in Google.

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